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Fantasy on Kingsfold/Starbucks of County Down *LINK*

Posted By: Haruo = Leland
Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 1:43 a.m.

Sunday evening my wife and I attended a handbell choir concert at Rose Hill Presbyterian in Kirkland, WA, with participation also by the bell choirs of Aldersgate United Methodist of Bellevue, WA.

One of the pieces one of Rose Hill's choirs (they have three bell ensembles) played was entitled "Fantasy on Kingsfold". The director prefaced it with the remark that he new a hymn to the tune, but couldn't find it in his hymnals. Rose Hill's hymnal, Hope's venerable "Hymns for the Living Church", sets the text "I feel the winds of God today" to KINGSFOLD, but that was not the text the director had in mind. After the concert I suggested "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem", and sure enough, that was the one he was trying to recall. And my wife said, "'Maid with the nut brown hair' is sung to that tune. The latter didn't ring any bells with me (it actually made me think of the less lovely "Nut-Brown Maiden"). Anyhow, I knew the tune was very similar to an Irish folk tune, but that Vaughan Williams had set it from an English source, but I could recall neither the Irish nor the English folk text.

Rushing to my hymnals on our return home, I soon found over 30 texts set to KINGSFOLD. I had to turn to the Internet to refresh myself (via Mudcat) on the fact that the Irish tune it's close to is "Star of the County Down", which incidentally is the tune to which the important recent Magnificat variant "Canticle of the Turning" was written. And it turns out that there is indeed a made with nut-brown hair in "Star of the County Down", indeed she IS the Star... so my wife was right, too.

In my hymnal research I determined that "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem" is indeed the text most frequently set to KINGSFOLD in my collection (and it is the only tune that text occurs with), while "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" is a distant second (but occurs much more frequently with VOXDILECTI and occasionally also with other tunes, including the coupling of its first stanza with the Negro-Spiritual variant of NEW BRITAIN called "Shine on Me" (#527, I believe, in the "African American Heritage Hymnal").

Anyhow, here are the texts I find set to KINGSFOLD in those of my hymnals that have tune-name indexes:

All you who seek a comfort sure
Almighty God, thy Word is cast
And didst thou travel light, dear Lord?
And have the bright immensitites
Blest be the God of Israel
Come, join the dance of Trinity
Come, let us use the grace divine
Creative God, you spread the earth
Creator of the intertwined
For ages women hoped and prayed
God binds us with a mighty cord
How small our span of life, O God
I feel the winds of God today
I heard the voice of Jesus say
If Christ had not been raised from death
If you could hie to Kolob
Make room within my heart, O God
My God I love thee not because
My soul proclaims your greatness, Lord
O come to me, the Master said
O God, who to a loyal home
O Jesus, crowned with all renown
O Master Workman of the race
O sing a song of Bethlehem
Our God is Love, unchanging Love
Saint Joseph was a quiet man
The hands that first held Mary's child
To mock your reign, O dearest Lord
Today we all are called to be
We sing the mighty power of God
When Jesus left his Father's throne
Where my free spirit onward leads

I would welcome having others brought to my attention.

And if you like Irish tunes and Seattle coffees, you should definitely listen to "Starbucks of County Down"! (see link)

Leland = Haruo

Starbucks of County Down


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